The dark side of EuroVision

Ok gang! Place your EuroVision 2012 bets. Before you go racing to the bookies read on.

According to ABC News, reports about alleged rights violations in Azerbaijan are capturing international attention as the country prepares to host this year’s Eurovision song contest. Eurovision is the most prestigious cultural event in the country since independence from the Soviet Union, and authorities had hoped it would boost the ex-Soviet state’s image.

According to William Hill, Sweden, Italy and Romania are currently top three favourites. Malta’s currently 66/1 with the UK at 14/1 (I am scribbling this on the morning before the show). I stand by what I said the other day – Malta’s entry to my ears is a clear contender for at least a top three position as far as this contest is concerned … but what do I know, I’m not a watcher just an outside observer. You and me liking one song or singer is overshadowed by more pressing real-life human issues.

Tens of millions of television viewers will tune into Europe’s annual pop music contest in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan this weekend, but a war of words over human rights may drown out the singing, self-promotion and naff costumes.

I think one thing this years contest has shown is a certain hypocrisy with the European Broadcasting Union with it turning a blind eye to certain issues as Azerbaijan as a host in the first place. It’s certainly highlighted the dark side of EuroVision. But there again such publicity through this contest might monumentally backfire for their government.

That being the case the winner this year could be the man (literally) on street.

Azerbaijan won the right to host the annual contest last year in Germany with the victory of its entry, the love song “Running Scared”, from Eldar Gasimov and Nigar Jamal, better known as Ell/Nikki.

It is the fifth former Soviet republic after Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine and Russia and the second Muslim country after Turkey to host the event.

Ian Waugh